- Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord scored hat tricks on Sunday
- The Matildas beat the Philippines in Perth
- Australia are playing qualifiers for the Olympics
Hometown hero Sam Kerr and Arsenal star Caitlin Foord have scored hat-tricks as the Matildas all but guaranteed passage to the next round of Olympic qualifying with an 8-0 rout of the Philippines in Perth.
In front of a sellout crowd of 59,155 at Optus Stadium on Sunday, Kerr and Foord scored first-half doubles as Australia took a 5-0 lead into the break.
Kerr secured her hat-trick just 24 seconds into the second half when she headed home a pin-point cross from Mary Fowler for her 68th goal from 127 internationals.
Foord notched her own hat-trick in the 56th minute when she danced around an opponent on the byline and nailed her shot from a tight angle.
The result thrust the Matildas to the top of Group A on six points, meaning all they need is a draw against Taiwan at HBF Park next Wednesday to guarantee progression to the final stage of qualification in February.
Sam Kerr bagged a hat trick as Australia thumped the Philippines on Sunday
The Matildas captain continued her fine start to the season with a treble
Arsenal striker Caitlin Foord also scored three goals at Optus Stadium
Even with a loss the Matildas would either top the group or at least qualify as the best runner-up from the three Asian confederation groups.
The only concern from Sunday’s match was a suspected hamstring injury to substitute Cortnee Vine, who came off in the 75th minute just 10 minutes after coming on.
‘They’re going to assess her again in the morning,’ Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said.
‘It’s too early to say if she’s ruled for the last game, but with my experience, I think there’s very little chance that she will be ready.’
The Matildas rested most of their biggest stars in Thursday’s 2-0 win against Iran, but they wheeled out a full-strength outfit against the Philippines in a match that would effectively decide the group winner.
Kerr, Foord, Mackenzie Arnold, Steph Catley and Fowler were among the 10 changes, and it didn’t take long for the floodgates to open.
Fowler opened the scoring in the 15th minute courtesy of a clever deflection from Foord.
And the crowd went into a frenzy when Kerr scored from close range in the 19th minute following a superb run by Foord, who beat two opponents before dishing off the assist.
Tillies supporters were out in force as Kerr greeted fans after the game
Kerr turned provider for the next goal when she expertly controlled Fowler’s lobbed pass before dishing off to Foord to score in the 30th minute.
Foord added another three minutes later when she held off an opponent before sliding a shot past the goalkeeper as she was falling to ground.
Kerr made it 5-0 on the stroke of half-time when she found herself one-on-one against the goalkeeper and blasted the ball into the back of the net.
The Matildas skipper headed home Fowler’s cross just 24 seconds into the second half, and it was party time in the 56th minute when Foord evaded an opponent to secure her hat-trick.
Kerr, Hayley Raso, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Katrina Gorry were subbed off in the 65th minute with the job done, but substitute Clare Wheeler ensured the party continued with a 72nd-minute rocket from the edge of the box to secure her maiden international goal.
Foord was named player of the match for her three goals and four goal assists.
‘Me and Sam have played together for years. And the likes of Emily van Egmond coming on – we’ve played just as long together,’ Foord said when asked about the team’s excellent chemistry.
‘I think it just clicked today, and we were all on the same page.’
The world No.44 Philippines, coached by Western United mentor Mark Torcaso, came from behind to beat Taiwan 4-1 in their group stage opener, but they were no match for the Matildas.